A few years ago, a youth leader asked his group, “What drives you to prayer?”
I had to think about it a little bit.
First I had to come clean with the fact that my prayer life is less Sunday morning formal and more oh-by-the-way casual. Certainly, there’s a place for formal and, if I am honest, perhaps I need to be a bit more formal from time to time. At the same time, a casual approach – little sentence prayers offered up on the sudden impulse to communicate – seems to reinforce the idea that we can come to God at anytime with any praise, thanksgiving, request or whatever. It’s kind of like how you can call up your best friend at absolutely any time and they won’t hang up on you.
Now, keep in mind, I don’t blurt out a prayer every time these things happen, but here are some things that have driven me to prayer (in answer to your question). It’s up to you to figure out which are praises, which are items of thanksgiving and which are requests …
… the golden crescent of the moon slipping through the clouds after driving several hours through a rain storm.
… the sight of a newborn.
… a cup of Starbucks with a couple of extremely cool high school girls.
… seeing the colors of fall pasted against a clear blue sky.
… hearing the words of a speaker who tells me exactly what I need to hear even when I don’t want to hear it.
… seeing television reports of people struggling for survival in the aftermath of Katrina and the tsunami.
… walking into the house of a homeowner at The Pittsburgh Project.
… feeling totally exhausted and realizing I am only halfway home.
… watching other people go through horrendously difficult times and realizing that all you can do is stand back, watch and pray.
… feeling the pounding in your head as you endure another combination sinus and migraine headache.
… finding that someone you’ve never even met has sent you a note of encouragement at just the time you were making major decisions about your role in God’s great story.
… realizing you have a role in God’s great story.
… screaming children.
… standing in a garden outside the city wall in Jerusalem and knowing the tomb there is empty.
… knowing that sometimes it isn’t safe to stand anywhere in Jerusalem.
… hearing lyrics to a song that go beyond just words and pierce the very core of your being as if that song was written just for you and just that time to create just that response.
… talking to a college student attending Passion 06 for the first time, by himself, and hearing about how excited he is to go back to school and make God’s glory a priority on his campus.
… noticing for the first time that the scrawny little seventh grader who entered your ministry is now a foot taller than you.
… finding out that the kid you sponsor with Compassion International was baptized on Christmas Day.
… hearing news that you know would be unbearable if Christ were not right there walking beside you.
… hearing news that is unbearable even though you know that Christ is right there walking beside you.
To be continued. From now, until eternity …
* Slightly edited post from prior blog.